Ron Stefanski is an entrepreneur, consultant, and college professor. His expertise in internet marketing vary widely and include SEO, SEM, PPC, Affiliate Marketing, Google Analytics, Social Media, etc. Stefanski owns a website called OneHourProfessor.com, an e-learning website that helps people learn how to create and grow their own online business.

Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?

I grew up in Elmhurst, Illinois.  It’s a medium-sized suburb about 30 minutes outside of Chicago and when I was younger, it was a very middle-class area.  My childhood was great, no complaints really.  I feel that I was always competing in something and that helps me stay driven as an adult.  Outside of having two older brothers, I was constantly in sports such as baseball, football, wrestling, track, basketball, and volleyball. 

My dad is an entrepreneur himself and I always thought it was cool how he could work from home while all of my friends had parents that commuted to and from work.  I remember my brothers and I always used to play “business”.  At the time, this consisted of us wrapping baseball cards in paper and offering trades.

What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?

That working for yourself isn’t as impossible as I thought it was.  I held myself back for so many years and wish I really got started at 30 years old.  I wish I would have started earlier.

What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?

In the online business area, the entire industry is riddled with scam artists and terrible advice.  I think the worst advice I hear is when people tell others to simply focus on what they’re passionate about and things will go well.  While this is true in some niches, generally speaking, this is not good advice as many of the niches aren’t the right fit for a business.

Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?

One of my biggest failures ever was when I failed out of college.  I felt awful at the time because I was the first in my immediate family to go to college and after being there, I realized that large lecture-hall style learning just wasn’t for me.  In terms of dealing with it, I basically let myself be depressed for a week or so and then decided I couldn’t let that failure beat me.  I ended up getting a job as an academic advisor and re-enrolled into a bachelor’s program.  Then, after I succeeded there, I went through an MBA program and went about halfway in a doctoral program. 

The way I see it, life is going to be full of bad days and dark times.  When they happen, it’s okay to be upset and even depressed for a short amount of time but to truly be successful the person who’s impacted needs to be able to accept it and keep moving forward.

What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?

I feel like I’m very good at delegating tasks and hiring the right people.  Without those skills, I would never be able to succeed as I could never possibly do all of this work myself.

What is your morning routine?

I really don’t have one.  My wake-up time is usually around 8-9 am.  After I wake up, I fill up a gallon of water which I drink every single day.  Then, I try to hit the gym immediately (we have a gym in our basement at home so this makes it easy).  I’ve found that if I don’t hit the gym first, I tend to do it very late or maybe even skip it that day.  After the gym, I’ll shower and then begin working. 

What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?

Scaling back on my work hours and finding more balance between work and life.  For quite some time, I was always working.  In the last year or so I’ve tried to scale back a bit and it’s made me a happier person to be able to disconnect and enjoy time to relax.

What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?

I like to turn my phone over or put it across the room while working.  For me, this limits interruptions and I’ve noticed that this one simple act can increase my productivity significantly.  Beyond that, I also set goals on things to complete every single day and I don’t stop working until I achieve them.

What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why? 

For me, I’d have to say The 4-Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferriss is the book that’s influenced me the most with my entrepreneur journey.  The reason is that it opened my eyes up to the idea of really focusing on outsourcing in my business and freeing up more of my own time. 

Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?

I don’t have a quote that I live by per say, but one of my favorites quotes is by Henry Ford.  “Whether you think you can, or you can’t, you’re right”.  I think that mindset is such a crucial part of entrepreneurship and this one resonates with me.